Selectmens Meeting Minutes - 8/10/2010
Selectmen’s Meeting
Fuller Meadow School
Nathan Media Center
August 10, 2010
7:30 p.m.

Call to Order:

Chair Christine Lindberg called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.  

Present:  Mr. Prentakis, Ms. Lindberg, Mr. Houten, Mrs. Jones, and Mr. Cresta (arrived at 7:30), and Ira Singer, Town Administrator.

Meeting Minutes:  Ms. Lindberg entertained a motion for the approval of the meeting minutes of the last Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

Motion by Mr. Houten to accept the meeting minutes as presented.  Second by Mr. Prentakis.  All were in favor and the vote unanimously passed 4-0-0 (Mr. Cresta had not yet arrived for the vote).

Administrator’s Report:

  • Mr. Singer presented the Town Warrant with payroll expenses of $151,515.  A detailed breakdown of the warrant is included in the packet.  He also presented bills payable in the amount of $737,708.  He stated that the school construction project will have its own warrant, and has asked members of the Board to come in during the off week (either Tuesday or Wednesday) to sign.
  • Mr. Singer reported that Bob LaBossiere and staff have been very busy with the repaving of an area of Route 62.  1800 tons of asphalt was used.  The project is pretty much finished but there were traffic tie ups.  He commented that this was an extremely tough job, with those involved working in 120-130 degree conditions.  Despite this, all workers were polite and professional.  The funds for this project were approved at May’s annual Town Meeting.
  • Mr. Singer updated the Board on the East Street construction project.  6-8,000 yards of material from the Howe Manning School construction site will be moved by the contractor.  The next phase will be the bidding phase and should happen sometime in September.
  • Mr. Singer referred to a letter included in the packet, which was a resignation from Lois Lane Gianni, who is currently Chair of the Flint Public Library Board of Trustees.  The resignation is effective September 15, 2010.  She must relinquish her seat because she will no longer be a Middleton resident at that time.  Mr. Singer discussed Ms. Gianni’s years of untiring community service and stated a more appropriate recognition will be planned for her as the date approaches.
  • Mr. Singer announced another resignation.  Ms. Betty Heckman will be resigning after 30 years as canine officer for both the towns of Middleton and Danvers.  She has an incredible record of service that will be hard to match.  In the near future the Town will be looking for a new animal control officer.  A new job description will be necessary and Mr. Singer stated it was necessary to plan for the transition.
Request to Waive Five Year Street Opening Moratorium on Grove Street for Installation of a Water Line Connection – Richardson Green Inc., Mr. Paul Richardson

Mr. Houten excused himself from this discussion.

Mr. Singer introduced Mr. Richardson, who then introduced his sons Chris and Peter.  Mr. Richardson is building a house on Grove Street, and asking permission to hook up to the water on Grove Street.  B. LaBossiere stated that there is already a connection on Oak Ave, which has been there for three years.  He sees no hardship reason why the line cannot go to Oak Ave, and if not, what is the purpose of a five year moratorium if it’s not going to be recognized.  He stated that the road was paved on 9/13/07.  B. Cresta asked how long the 5 year moratorium policy has been in place.  Mr. Singer responded that it was established in the 80’s.  There are exceptions for hardships – cases where there is no well water or other access.

Ms. Lindberg commented that there is a five year moratorium, there is currently access to water, and the DPW Superintendent does not recommend the waiver.  To that end, she has to support the Superintendent’s recommendation and not vote in favor of the waiver.  Mr. Prentakis asked Mr. Richardson what criteria he would use to lift the moratorium.  He replied conservation purposes, and the people who live on Oak Ave would have a bigger bump in the road, resulting in a larger inconvenience.

Mr. Cresta asked if Mr. Richardson would assume responsibility for maintenance for the remainder of the moratorium.  Mr. Richardson replied that he would.  With that being said, Mr. Cresta made a motion to waive the five year street opening moratorium on Grove Street.  Mrs. Jones seconded the motion for discussion purposes.

Mrs. Jones commented that the fewer times we have to make exception to the policy the better.  If there is no hardship, then she sees no reason to waive the moratorium.

Ms. Lindberg called for a vote.  The motion was denied 1-3-1; with Mr. Cresta casting the yes vote, and Mr. Houten excusing himself from the vote.

Continued from 7/27/10:  Review of Memorandum of Agreement between Town of Middleton and Regional Emergency Communication (RECC) for Public Safety Dispatch Service – Mr. Joseph F. McGowen of the Essex County Sherriff’s Office

Mr. Singer introduced Joe McGowan of the Essex County Sherriff’s Department.  Joining Mr. McGowan was Tom Dubas who is Director of Emergency Services and Deputy Director of Emergency Operations for Lackawanna County, PA, supervising all 911 services, including all police, fire and EMS dispatch and emergency management for the county of 215,000 in northeastern PA.  Also joining Mr. McGowan was Michael McCarthy, CFO of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Ms. Lindberg began by asking about the dispatchers from the member towns.  She questioned who would be hired by the RECC.  Mr. McGowan responded first by stating it is their intent to absorb all dispatchers from member communities.  They will not go outside the member communities until the existing pool of staff has been exhausted.  The total number of employees required to operate the station will be dictated by the final population. Depending on the final size of the center, it is his hope that all dispatchers will be successfully relocated.  Mr. Dubas added that it is in everyone’s best interest to keep existing staff; however, they will be looking at qualifications and training.  He reassured Ms. Lindberg that current employees will be thoroughly looked at before anyone else.  Mr. McGowan stated that the center will allow for more investment in employees, with more training, a career path and all will be cross trained for police, fire and emergency dispatch.

Mr. Prentakis asked how, in the first year of operations, they would determine population.  Mr. McGowan responded that the Department of Revenue gave census figures which are believed to be most accurate.  Mr. Prentakis further stated that he does not want to pay for the prison population.  Mr. McGowan responded that he has had many conversations with Ira about this and understands the concern.

Fire Chief Frank Twiss addressed the Board, and thanked Mr. Dubas and Mr. McGowan for their tremendous work.  The town has been very, very lucky that they’ve been able to run a very efficient department.  There’s not just an economic benefit to the new RECC, but it’s also new tools and technology.  It will allow for taking a person out of the station and putting that person on the street protecting the community where they belong.  It will allow the Middleton Fire Department to provide better service to Town Residents.

Police Chief James DiGianviattorio spoke on behalf of the project.  He stated he has been the toughest sell.  He’s concerned about downsizing.  He was happy to hear the comments earlier regarding the use of existing staff.  He is planning to visit the center in Lakawanna a week from Monday.  He’ll render a final opinion after that.  He believes in the concept.  He wants what is best for the community.  

Mr. Dubas stated that each community sets their own policies.  There is no cookie cutter, computerized dispatch.  The specific nature of a call, how it’s handled, etc. is set by the chief’s of each member community and programmed automatically into the computers.  The Dispatchers do not have to remember, it’s all there for them.

Mr. Prentakis asked about the transition period.  Mr. Dubas responded there is always an overlap.  The transition to the new facility is seamless.  Mr. Prentakis asked Chief Twiss how many calls the Fire Department can handle at one time.  Chief Twiss responded that there are 4 trunk lines.  If there is no answer after 4 rings, the call automatically goes to Hamilton, which is Middleton’s backup.

Mr. McGowan discussed a possible timeline.  He is hopeful that all communities will be on board by September.  The first communities will go online year end 2011 – beginning 2012.  He encouraged everyone to read through the distributed materials and process the information.

Ms. Lindberg commented that she will wait for the Police and Fire Chiefs to visit and report back on their experiences with the center in Lakawanna before voting on it.

Final Review of Draft Water Management Act Permit Renewal #9P-3-17-071.01 for the Towns of Danvers and Middleton in the Ipswich River Basin and Findings of Fact in Support of the Draft Permit Renewal Decision.

Ms. Lindberg began discussion by stating she is all for water conservation and understands that the Department of Environmental Protection has the authority to step in.  However, she was not impressed with the tone of the correspondence pertaining to this matter, including the correspondence from the Ipswich River Watershed Association.

Mr. Cresta stated he took exception with Appendix D (Environmentally friendly landscaping list).  He believes that individuals are being unfairly targeted.  Mr. Singer directed the Board’s attention to Appendix C (Water Use Mitigation Plan).  The permit requires the permitees to adopt and implement a program to mitigate water demand, so as to ameliorate and minimize the depletion of the limited resources of water available within the basin in accordance with the provisions of the permit, including 2:1 water conservation or in-basin retention of water goal.  He is concerned with developmental control.  Ms. Lindberg again expressed her frustration with the letter from Kerry Mackin of the Ipswich River Watershed Association.  

Mr. Singer stated that he has asked the state government to gather 14 towns to discuss acting regionally.  Mr. Cresta noted that comments would be accepted through August 13, and asked if the Board could respond.  Mr. Singer replied yes.  Mr. Cresta believes very strongly that the Board should comment; specifically on two key points – 1.  Appendix D; 2.  No credit for septic and private wells.

Discussion of City of Lowell filing of Home Rule Petition to Implement Health Plan Design Changes.

Mr. Singer referred members of the Board to a letter included in the packets, from Bernie Lynch, City Manager of Lowell.  The letter outlines Mr. Lynch’s frustration in trying to gain some control over health insurance costs. The City of Lowell has taken the step of filing a home rule petition that will enable the City to act on behalf of its taxpayers in instituting plan design changes or join the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission plan.  Mr. Singer asked members of the Board if they would be interested in participating in taking a position.  He stated there was no need for action this evening, but it is something that should be taken under consideration and the Board should be aware of.


Ms. Lindberg received in the mail a correspondence from the MMA regarding a 6th grade essay contest.  She asked Mrs. Jones if she would look it over and see if it was something the Town should participate in.

Mr. Singer referred to a letter from Michael Hancock of Middleton Auto Sales, requesting that the business’s hours of operation be changed from:

M-F  8-5        to      M-F 8-7
Sat 9-5                 same
Sun closed              Sun 10-5

Additionally Mr. Hancock wanted to change some of the restrictions of his operating license.  It was determined that this was not under the governance of the Board of Selectmen but should be referred to the Board of Appeals.  Mr. Singer stated he will notify both parties.

At 10:00 p.m., Mr. Houten made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Prentakis to adjourn the meeting.  The motion carried 5-0-0.

Brian Cresta, Clerk
Middleton Board of Selectmen